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On World Autism Awareness Day, New Stats Reveal Increase

April 4, 2014 11:05am (EDT)

It’s World Autism Awareness Day. New stats released by the CDC reveal that autism is more prevalent than previously reported.

”About 1 in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network” states the CDC report. Two years ago the figure was 1 in 88.

What about Georgia? The state was part of the new CDC study. Compared to other regions, the south has a lesser prevalence of autism than northern areas.

Dr. Amy Pakula, clinical director of diagnostic and evaluation services at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, told the Atlanta Journal Constitution in 2010 that 1 in 98 children has autism in the state.

Autism’s profile was raised in Georgia recently due to the introduction of Ava’s Law, a bill that would required private health insurance companies in the state to cover treatment for the condition.

While that bill did not pass, several local organizations provide support for children with autism and their parents. They offer answers that address many of the misconceptions and misinformation spread about the disorder.

Here are some questions answered by Georgia’s Autism Society:

What is the cause/reason for the increase rate?

There is no specific scientific defined reason or cause for the increase in the CDC reporting. There will likely be a number of proposed suggestions regarding the cause or reason for the increase. What is known is that there have been significant increases in the ability to properly diagnosis autism and such diagnosis is occurring at earlier ages for children than ever before. So, part of the increase might be attributed to better diagnosis occurring, which is very good.

Do childhood vaccinations cause autism and if so, is this a reason for the increase?

While many scientific studies have shown there is no direct cause of autism from vaccinations, there are parents and individuals that believe there is a link. The Autism Society encourages parents to examine all of the issues surrounding vaccinations and talk with their medical doctor in determining the impact a vaccination will have on a child. The Autism Society also encourages parents to talk with their child's doctor regarding the intervals between vaccinations.

What good can come from the CDC report?

The best that could come from the report is that our nation's, state and local leaders commit to addressing the needs of those who live today with autism. There are over 3,000,000 people estimated to have an autism diagnosis in our nation. The report released by the CDC is simply numbers. But behind each number is a human being that is deserving of our nation's respect, value and dignity. We must never treat a person with autism or with any disability in a way that is disrespectful and in a way that denies that person access to realizing the American Dream.

Read all of the questions and answers.

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